Sustainability Spring 2009 Class 4 Jeff Fletcher Logistics

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  • Next Reading Assignment:
    • Worldchanging: Shelter
      • (pp. 139-223, can skim pp. 186-198)
  • This I Believe part 1 due
  • Fieldtrip—probably Columbia Gorge rather than Mt. Hood (snow and time issues)
    • Possibilities include…

Thesis Statements

  • Suppose you had chosen the article on Understanding Trade?
  • What would be an example of a thesis statement?
    • “This article is about global trade.” ??
    • “This article is about the pros and cons of global trade.” ??

What is Academic Writing?

Acceptable Evidence in Academic Writing

  • Do not use general statements such as “It is obvious that…” or “as everyone knows”
  • Be as specific as possible. Do not claim that justice is X and Y.
  • Instead, argue that a specific author defines justice as A and B.


  • Always ask “who is my reader?”
  • Is the reader familiar with the text I’m writing about?
    • Usually we will NOT assume that the reader has read the readings or read the assignment
    • There are exceptions that will be mentioned in assignment handouts

Location of Thesis

  • Intro Paragraph
  • First set the scene for your reader: tell them what reading(s) you will be discussing. Sometimes need to tell them what part(s) you’ll be discussing.
  • Thesis will be 1-3 sentences in your first paragraph.
  • In longer papers, you may have longer thesis.

Purpose of the Thesis

  • Directly answers question asked of you, or a question you asked yourself.
  • Tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.

Directly Answers a question

  • If you can’t tell someone the question you’re answering in one or two sentence, you probably don’t have a thesis.
  • If everyone would agree with your statement, you have a summary, not a thesis.
  • Ask yourself, what else could someone argue?

Tells the reader what to expect in rest of paper

  • Example: If you say you are against eating meat for environmental reasons, the rest of your paper should be … ??
    • In support of this statement!
    • It should not be about the health benefits of being vegetarian.
    • While this may be true, it doesn’t follow from thesis.

Academic Essay Structure

  • Thesis statements
  • Paragraphs/Topic Sentences
  • Revising the Thesis
  • Evidence, Claim, Reason
  • Conclusions

Worldchanging : Stuff

  • Svalbard Global Seed Vault (Doomsday Seed Bank) (p. 72)
    • Opened last year (on isolated island)
    • Currently 400,000+ seeds
    • Lack of tectonic activity and permafrost
    • Refrigeration units cool the seeds to 0 °F
    • Even if equipment fails, will stay cold enough for at least several weeks
    • Surrounding sandstone bedrock is 30 °F (still below freezing

Worldchanging : Stuff

  • Similar Themes (corn, orgainic)
    • Cotton subsidies (p. 45)
      • US cotton farmers $0.72 vs. world market $0.38
    • Non-organic cotton
      • Standard cotton t-shirt 1/3 of a pound of pesticide and fertilizer
    • Product lifecycles
      • Instead of following food back to origin and seeing where it goes; same for products “Cradle to Cradle” (p. 115)

Worldchanging : Stuff

  • Precautionary Principle (p. 107-108)
    • Is it possible? (see quote)
    • Genetically Modified Foods
    • Nanotechnology
      • Nanotubes (fullerenes)
        • Toxic if ingested

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